Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recycled Basilica

Since my very first post at this blog, I had not created any area set in the Fugue Plane. Considering that the whole point of my module is for players to try to destroy the Wall of the Faithless, readers may very well wonder if I haven't lost focus somehow. Wonder no more. I present one of the sites of the City of Judgment -- the Basilica of Lost Hope.

All right, this area is something of a cop out. Like the first area that I created for Faithless, the Basilica of Lost Hope is lifted from Mask of the Betrayer. The designers at Obsidian Entertainment did a decent job of creating this area. The layout of the building is similar to that of real basilicas, although the ceiling of the former is rather low. What I like about OEI's design is that the sounds are appropriately creepy, and the misty haze that permeates the area gives it a ghostly ambience. What I didn't like about it, however, is that the lighting is as bland as Kelemvor, the incumbent god of death. To make matters worse, the combat encounters did not take advantage of the creepiness of this place. What could have been a scary boss encounter was instead a straight-up fight with a group of easily-dispatched creatures. What a waste of potential.

Fortunately, I have a knack for establishing the mood of an area with lights and shadow. The screenshots that are displayed here are the result of several hours of experimenting with lighting and bloom. With the basilica's new look, the only kind of combat encounter that is suited for this place is one that guarantees heart-pounding suspense. I just hope that I can deliver on that promise.

The lack of stained glass windows is a glaring omission in the original Basilica of Lost Hope. What building would dare call itself a basilica without them? Fortunately, there are several stained glass window hakpaks available at the Vault. The one I chose is Ar_Pharazon's Stain Glass. Readers may see a couple of windows from this hakpak in the background of the screenshot to the left. I actually prefer the Stain Glass package over Ar_Pharazon's other submission, which features images of the major deities of Faerun. The former looks more authentic than the latter.

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